“I feel a lot. Sometimes it’s horrible, and sometimes it’s awesome.”

I recently stumbled upon an interview with actress Victoria Pedretti by the channel StyleLikeU. Founded by mother-daughter duo, Elisa Goodkind and Lily Mandelbaum, the channel is dedicated to telling stories about self-acceptance, expressing individuality, and empowerment.

In their flagship The What’s Underneath Project, activists, founders, artists, models, and more undress layer by layer as they open up about style, self-image, and identity. It was my first time learning of Victoria Pedretti (and my woefully TV-ignorant eyes didn’t register her as the star of Netflix’s The Haunting), but her 17-minute interview is captivating in how open she is.

Pop culture and pop psychology made us all too familiar with phrases like radical candor and practicing vulnerability. But their casual use in small talk and office parlance belies the impact of seeing it in action. Identifying what emotions we’re experiencing is a skill to help us make active choices on how we respond; not as a crutch or excuse.

The interview move from what her style says about her to what she is insecure about, and as her hat and jacket are gently set aside, the tenor of the interview shifts. She admits a simple but raw truth — that she wants friends who accept her and worries about being a burden unto others. She holds back tears when she recalls a former partner who created a secure environment for her to experience love, not just know that it existed in the world.

My favorite part is right after her shoes come off, and she’s asked, “When do you feel most beautiful?” The question is asked so earnestly, and instead of giggling it off with a blasé quip, she pauses and looks up. Her eyes glisten with unshed tears, and she offers simple answers: dancing, cooking, engaging in the things that allow herself to embrace herself. With her sweatshirt now placed neatly away, she bares her heart. Feeling a lot can be horrible, painful, lonely, but it can also be a gift and “feel good, when [we] can accept it.”

Here is the link to watch the interview in full.

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